Resources for Freelance Writers

I began seriously trying to make a living as a freelance writer around this time last year.  It took a few months, but I now have a pretty good system for getting regular work from a few trusted sources. If you are still struggling to find work I’m sharing my list of resources in the hopes that next year, you’ll get more work.

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  1.  Elancehttp://www.elance.com is my number one go to for writing assignments. I’ve been successful in landing long term relationships with vendors who come to me time and again to ghostwrite books for them. I’ve gotten the occasional editing jobs as well as daily writing assignments. Eighty percent of my writing jobs come through  Elance.
  2. Odeskhttp://www.odesk.com is a secondary place where I’ve found work. I’ve done everything from editing books to writing promotional video scripts. The work is varied and I’ve had some very exciting projects on Odesk.
  3. Freedom With Writing – www.freedomwithwriting.com is a website that post all of the various places you can find writing jobs online.  I signed up for the e-newsletter and every week I get a list of new places to look for work. One of those places is the next place on my list to look for work.
  4. Guruhttp://www.guru.com – is another site similar to Elance and Odesk. The main difference is that anyone can post jobs on there for free. As a result the jobs don’t pay much. I must admit that I don’t use Guru much because there are just so many people out there on the free version that it’s hard to get work without paying. I don’t think I should have to pay to get hired for work.
  5. I also recently, began offering my services to friends and local business owners that I know. Writing newsletters, reports, and marketing materials can be a big help to small business owners who are trying to do everything on their own. If you can take one thing of their plate, they will happily pay your for it.

Using these resources to find writing jobs has kept me plenty busy and provided extra income. I don’t do it full-time, but I believe that with the right focus, you could make a decent living as a freelance writer. I wish you the best in the New Year. You have three more weeks to create your game plan to get more work doing what you love next year.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D. P. McLaughlin

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Salute to Small Business

November is also National Entrepreneur Month and in this post I’d like to celebrate all the self-published authors, small independent publishers and presses that make up the indie book scene. We are the little engines that could. This Saturday is Small Business Saturday and if you have a book that you would like to promote this week, I open this blog up for you to pitch your book. In the comments, tell me your name, title of your book and give a link to where we can purchase your book. I ask that everyone who reads this blog today would consider purchasing a book from a self published author or independent publisher this weekend.

I have two books that are both available online.

I Believe              I Wish for Snow Cover

http://www.amazon.com/shops/AV3MJQ7H1J1P6

Every book comes signed by the author.

Thank you for your support of me and the other authors who post their links.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

The Business of Writing

The moment you decided to become a writer, you become a business. Not only are you in business, you are the CEO of You Incorporated. Everything you do and say from this point on will be scrutinized. People will suddenly care what you have to say and genuinely want your opinion on everything. What exactly, is the business of writing?

Writing as a business is about more than putting words on paper. It’s about sharing ideas and at times challenging beliefs. Writing is about giving a voice to the disenfranchised or being an authority in a field. It’s about communicating effectively as both a teacher and a storyteller. The hardest part of the business of writing is discovering your platform. Once you decide what being a business means for you, then you can sit down and be about the business of writing.

When I began my publishing company back in 2004, I branded myself as a writer of Christian books for children and young adults. I’ve since expanded that to include adults. The subject matter is on a different level but my message is still the same. My mission has not changed. There is room to grow and evolve even within the brand and platform you’ve chosen.  Just be strategic in how you roll out the new direction of your company. I’m always looking for ways to improve the business and to find what I consider to be success.

Success for some writers is being published. For others, it’s writing a best seller. For me it’s being able to use my gifts and talents to make a living that will help support my family. It’s writing this blog in the hopes that I’ll share something that will help you take things to the next level in your writing. This is the cake for me, public recognition would be the icing.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

Guerrilla Marketing

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1guer·ril·la

noun \gə-ˈri-lə, ge-, g(y)i-\

: a member of a usually small group of soldiers who do not belong to a regular army and who fight in a war as an independent unit.

You have to ask yourself, why the writers of the Guerrilla Marketing series compared themselves to soldiers and marketing to war.  Any selfpublished author, who has tried to get their books into Barnes and Noble knows exactly why. Trying to get your book to be seen in the sea of published books can be like fighting a war with just a small rag-tag regiment. Typically a guerrilla army doesn’t have all the weapons and upgraded equipment of the regular army. However, in Guerrilla Marketing for Writers, you learn how to use what you’ve got to market your book.  Most of the marketing tools in the book cost little to no money and can be implemented in a day.

Guerrilla Marketing for Writers is a book that everyone who has published or hopes to publish a book should read. I bought this book back in 2003 and I periodically pick it up and use it as a reference book on book marketing. There have been a couple of revisions since then. Also check out Guerilla Marketing for Writers 2.0, which includes all of the revised strategies as well new media weapons you can add to your arsenal.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

Three Words

As a writer we are often asked to sum things up in 200 words or less. Writing lean is something I’ve been blessed to do. It was very seldom that my teacher’s complained that my papers were too long. If there was not a specific word count the odds are they would be too short. I’ve found a way to use as many words as it takes to get my point across and then I stop writing. However, when it comes to writing promotional materials and other book related copy, I some times find myself complaining that I need to write more.

How good are you when it comes to summarizing your work in 50 words or less? A good exercise, that I’m sure you’ve done on some level is to choose three words that best describes X.  If you had to distill your 250 page novel or 400 page self-help book into three words, could you do it? Challenge yourself with this: Take the synopsis or maybe a review written about a work that you’ve read and tell the story with three words.

Being brief is a good skill to practice. If you want to use social media to market your books, you’ll need to catch a reader’s attention in a few sentences. If you’re giving an elevator speech, you need to capture your listener’s imagination in as little as 30 seconds. Most readers will not continue to read beyond page three if they are not drawn into the story by then. Attention spans are short and getting shorter with every new piece of technology that becomes available.

Make it a practice to never use two words when one will do. Get to the point and get there quick. Once you have their attention, then you can take your time. But remember readers have questions, like ” why should I care” and “what is this all about.” The quicker you answer their questions, the more likely they are to want to stick around and learn more.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

Motivation

English: Motivational Saying

The life of an author can be lonely at times. We are often misunderstood. No one really knows why we continue to do what we do. No one writes to become rich and famous. It’s nice when it happens, but it’s the mission and the message that keeps me going day in and day out. I know that I have a unique way of looking at the world. I’ve also been given an amazing gift. I believe that I must write for all those people who need to receive the message I’ve been sent to share.

It’s not easy to keep going at times. Especially when bills are due, the books are not selling, and your spouse is thinking it’s time to get a real job. If writing and self-publishing is just a hobby, then it is wise to get a regular 9-5 to pay the bills. However, if you have made writing your business, then you must find ways to get paid to write. Here’s a short list of things you can do to generate an income.

Also look for ways to improve your craft. Enter writing contest, attend writer’s retreats and conferences. Winning a few contest can bring in some much-needed cash. Retreats and conferences are great opportunities to network, and learn about the craft as well as the markets. This next piece of advice may seem unrelated, but make sure to take care of yourself. If you are down and depressed, the odds are you won’t feel like writing. Engage in some sort of regular exercise and eat well so you can remain focused and have the energy to write well.  Remember where there is a will, there is a way.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

Author as Bookseller

I Believe  When I self-published my first book, it didn’t dawn on me at the time that I was becoming a bookseller. Even those who publish with a traditional publisher, are still responsible for having a marketing plan and promoting their books. Writers tend to be a little introverted. Salesperson is not exactly the best word to describe many of us. However, if you want to become a bestselling author, you’ll have to learn to sell.

The biggest thing you have to sell is not really the book itself, but rather the concept or big idea the book represents.  There will also be a lot of selling of yourself. My degree is in Theatre. I learned all of the technical, management and playwriting aspects of theatre because I hate auditioning. I was young , and didn’t know how to handle rejection. As an actor, I thought if I’m not chosen for a part that, I’m being rejected as a person. Whereas, if my script is rejected, I can re-write it and make it acceptable.

Fear of rejection is the number one reason the average person is terrified of sales. There are a select few who manage to never take it personal and as a result excel in the sales arena. To be a successful bookseller, here’s a few habits you’ll want to foster in your life.

  1. Tell Everybody Often: We are often timid about telling people about our book or what we do. Or we tell them once and expect that to be enough. Research shows it takes on average eight presentations before a marketing message is received by one person. Find ways to keep your book or service before them.
  2. Remember It’s a Numbers Game: Track your numbers and know the odds. If it takes talking to 20 people to sell one book. Then you know if you want to sell 10 books you must reach 200 people.
  3. Know Your Audience: If you know your audience and what they need you can tailor a message that will intrigue them. You can explain how your book or product solves their problem. By targeting a specific group of people who are favorable to your message you increase your odds. You can now sell one in five people.

I’ve found it’s nice to make your books available online and get them in a bookstore if you can. However, the book won’t sell itself, you still have to let people know where they can find it. You should also be prepared to sell books out of your trunk if you have to.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D. P. McLaughlin